|Review: Rage - Soundchaser|
Year released: 2003
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: February 11, 2004
Reviewed by: Pierre Bégin
Rage is back with full-force with "Soundchaser", a splendid 57 minutes follow up of "Unity", released in 2002. Musically, "Soundchaser" is a mix of their two previous efforts; "Unity" for the fast melodic songs and "Welcome To The Other Side" for some acoustic guitar and piano parts.
The 12 tracks album kicks out with "Orgy Of Destruction", an excellent one and a half minute heavy intro which leads to "War Of Worlds", an unforgettable moderately fast heavy metal song. The chorus and the lyrics of this track are exceptional. Next is the title track "Soundchaser", yet another excellent song with its pounding pre-verse and verse where it's hard for me to not play "air drums"! "Defenders Of The Ancient Life" is acceptable but probably the weakest track with its too-short-and-direct approach compared to other Rage tunes. "Flesh And Blood" has some acoustic verses which lead to a superb heavy pounding chorus. "Human Metal" is really strong with its excellent traditional heavy riffs. The album ends beautifully with "Falling From Grave", a tune with two parts. In the first one ("Wake The Nightmares"), Andi Deris from Helloween sings with Peavy in the chorus lines. The second part ("Death Is On Its Way") is heavier and blends very well with the first piece. The special edition also contains a bonus track, "French Bourrée", a classical song originally written by Bach, turned marvelously into metal by Victor Smolski. A really nice addition to an already sublime album.
The songs on "Soundchaser" are mid to fast paced, my favourite ones being "War Of Worlds", "Soundchaser", "Flesh And Blood", "Human Metal", "Falling From Grave" (part I and II) and the bonus track "French Bourrée". Excellent performance by the three musicians: Founder member Peavy Wagner's vocals are top notch and he's still solid on bass; the multi-talented Victor Smolski is once again noticeable with excellent solid guitar riffs and leads, and finally skinsman war machine-precision Mike Terrana is once again very creative behind his drum kit.
"Soundchaser" is a sci-fi concept album about some species called the "Soundchaser", a biomechanical creature that we can observe on the cover of many Rage albums including this one. The narrative is well explained in the booklet as an introduction. The story connects to some lyrics in previous albums like "Perfect Man", "Secrets In A Weird World" and "The Missing Link". Only the opener "War Of Worlds" and the bonus track are not part of the concept. The production by Charlie Bauerfeind is once again wonderful. He is without a doubt my favourite producer with the outstanding latest productions of Rage, HammerFall, Helloween and Blind Guardian.
Rage for me is the most underrated metal band currently. This German metal band made good to sublime metal albums one after the other for almost 20 years. "Soundchaser" is the proof that Rage is still kicking some serious ass after all these years. There is a perceptible strong unity between the three skilled musicians when it comes to the songwriting. Moreover, Rage's compositions are built with many little things here and there while still being inspired by straightforward heavy metal. These facts contribute to playing a Rage album over and over again without being bored (asked my friends about it)! (-; (It's true - Ed.) Rage is without a doubt one of my favourite bands (hmmm, I think it sweats a bit in my review)! (-; A must-have for every metalheads.
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